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Weekly Harvest Newsletter

Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - June 17, 2009

Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service Web site. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.

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News & Resources
* Organic EQIP Applications Still Being Sought
* Ag Law Website Features New Information
* Farmers Market Survey Report Released
* Factsheet Tells How to Protect Organic Land from Chemical Sprays
* Publication Highlights 'Farming With Grass'
* Pennsylvania Farmers Markets Provide Vouchers

Funding Opportunities
* New York Farmers Market Grant Program
* Farm Aid Grants
* OCIA Research & Education Micro Grants

Coming Events
* American Forage and Grassland Council Conference
* Sustainably Sourcing Agricultural Raw Materials
* Biodynamics Workshop

News & Resources

Organic EQIP Applications Still Being Sought
USDA is allocating $50 million of funds through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to be set aside for a new Organics Initiative to assist organic farmers and those transitioning to organic. Current organic producers and those transitioning to organic will be eligible to receive contracts for implementing conservation practices and conservation planning under the program. Some states have extended the application deadline. Find out about the program in your state by contacting the NRCS Organic contact.

Ag Law Website Features New Information
Within the last month, Right-To-Farm, Climate Change, and Biofuels statutory citations were added to the National Ag Law Center’s State Law Clearinghouse, bringing the total to eight statutory compilations. While citations are currently available, the work on the biofuels and climate change compilations is still in progress. Work has begun on the extensive task of digitizing the text of each of the statutes to provide an even handier research tool.

Farmers' Market Survey Report Released
The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the publication of the USDA National Farmers' Market Survey, 2006. This report of a survey conducted by USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) in 2006, in partnership with Michigan State University, draws a comprehensive picture of farmers markets in the United States in 2005, the year surveyed. The report presents data from seven U.S. regions. It looks at such information as the number of vendors, the number of customers, the age of the market, the types of goods sold, and the way those goods were labeled, and analyzes the factors that contributed to the success of the markets.

Factsheet Tells How to Protect Organic Land from Chemical Sprays
A new factsheet from Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) covers ways to lessen the chance of contamination of organic land. The publications covers six ways to stay proactive and protect your land.
Related ATTRA Publication:   Sources of "Spraying Prohibited" Signs for Organic Farms

Publication Highlights 'Farming With Grass'
Recently the Soil and Water Conservation Society published the proceedings from the Farming with Grass Conference held in Oklahoma in 2008 in an online book titled "Farming with Grass." In summarizing stories from the conference, participants envisioned mixed livestock, perennial plants, and other crops, instead of large stands of a single-row crop monoculture. The goal is to sustain farms and rural communities both economically and environmentally, while offering local, healthy foods and other new products.

Pennsylvania Farmers' Markets Provide Vouchers
The Farmers' Market Nutrition Program provides vouchers for eligible older adults and families to purchase fresh local foods at farm markets and farm stands across Pennsylvania. Secretary of Agriculture Dennis Wolff said Pennsylvania is one of only a few states that provide state funding in addition to federal grants. As a result, all of Pennsylvania is covered by the program. Statewide, 1,025 farmers are participating in the program at 189 farm markets and 920 roadside farm stands.

> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

New York Farmers' Market Grant Program
This grant program provides up to $25,000 in matching funds for the construction, reconstruction, improvement, expansion, or rehabilitation of farmers’ markets in New York State.
Proposals are due July 27, 2009.

Farm Aid Grants
Farm Aid offers grants in three categories. Grants in the Growing the Good Food Movement category fund organizations or projects that work with the growing number of Americans reaching for and demanding family farm-identified, local, organic or humanely-raised food. These grants build connections between farmers and consumers, creating new markets for family farmers. Helping Farmers Thrive grants fund organizations or projects that assist farmers transitioning to more sustainable and profitable farming practices, find alternative markets, or start a new farming operation as well as provide support services to farm families in crisis. Taking Action to Change the System grants fund organizations or projects that promote fair farm policies and grassroots organizing campaigns to defend and bolster family farm-centered agriculture. These grants enable advocates to strengthen the voices of family farmers and promote their interests on a local, regional and national level.
Proposals are due August 1, 2009.

OCIA Research & Education Micro Grants
Grants can be for any of the following areas that involve organics, and benefit multiple producers, processors and/or consumers: Organic Research; Organic Education; and Other ideas supporting/promoting organic agriculture. Typical grants would be in the range of $300 to $1,500, on a first come - first served basis provided projects meet requirements.

> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

American Forage and Grassland Council Conference
June 21-23, 2009
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Join the American Forage and Grassland Council and the Michigan Forage Council in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for the very best in education, exhibits and networking. You’ll hear relevant presentations delivered by today’s academic and on-the-ground practitioners. From the opening program to the closing Awards Banquet, you’ll find activities and information designed to help you navigate today’s forage and grassland environment.

Sustainably Sourcing Agricultural Raw Materials
June 23-24, 2009
Chicago, Illinois

The two day Summit will discuss the development and implementation of sustainable agricultural supply chains for the North American food industry.

Biodynamics Workshop
June 26-28, 2009
Lopez Island, Washington

Renewing Human and Natural Systems Through Agriculture On-Farm Workshop S&S Homestead Farm, Lopez Island, Washington ~ A WSU BIOAg Learning Site. Over the last 85 years of the development of Biodynamic Agriculture, practitioners have extended the understanding of plant morphology initiated by poet and scientist, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. In this workshop, participants will learn these advanced principles of plant metamorphosis through instructive plant demonstrations, through artistic work, and by applying these principles in their own plant observation and collection in the field. Participants will thus better understand the dynamics of biodynamic practice. This 6th annual workshop will also include on-farm slaughter using the USDA mobile unit, harvesting of animal sheaths and demonstration of biodynamic prep making and usage, a farm walk on various topics on how to form a healthy farm organism, and most of all, celebrating farm-produced food and drink.

> More Events

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